Credit: Aleks G
Literature

Politics, Publishing, and Snowy Woods

Unless you were paying close attention, you may have missed a momentous occasion in politics and publishing earlier this year.

In 1998 the United States Congress passed the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act, adding an additional twenty years of copyright protection to all texts published from 1923-1977 and halting what had been a steady stream of material released to the public domain.

It has now been twenty years.

So while Americans were cleaning up from their New Year’s Eve parties or watching the Rose Bowl Parade, thousands of previously copyrighted works (including poems, books and essays by Willa Cather, Agatha Christie, Edith Wharton, Robert Frost, and Wallace Stevens) entered the public domain. Now, once again, every January 1st, Americans will be able to celebrate ‘Public Domain Day’ with new set of artworks, images, magazine articles, books, poems, and songs becoming free and available to all.

Veritas Journal will honor this year’s Public Domain Day by (legally) reproducing one of the most notable works to lose its copyright this year, Robert Frost’s famous poem, “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening.”


“Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening,” by Robert Frost

Whose woods these are I think I know.   
His house is in the village though;   
He will not see me stopping here   
To watch his woods fill up with snow.   

My little horse must think it queer   
To stop without a farmhouse near   
Between the woods and frozen lake   
The darkest evening of the year.   

He gives his harness bells a shake   
To ask if there is some mistake.   
The only other sound’s the sweep   
Of easy wind and downy flake.   

The woods are lovely, dark and deep,   
But I have promises to keep,   
And miles to go before I sleep,   
And miles to go before I sleep.

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2 Comments

  • Matt Axvig

    I love it! Personally I’d like to consider this opportunity as a call to keep alive the memory of these our great artists and to be receptive to their work and the seed they would sow.

    I just finished a book in which I came across the last written words of the classical American philosopher Josiah Royce, whose philosophy of loyalty included practicing a cult of the dead of sorts. Reading, remembering, remembering, repurposing. These are religious ties that bind. Here are his last words:

    Among the motives that have made the religious life of humanity intense, endlessly disposed to renew its youth despite all its disillusionments and unfailingly precious despite all of its changes and disappointments is the motive expressed in one of the oldest and newest of cults–the cult of the dead. This cult has survived countless changes of opinion. It will survive countless transformations of belief such as the future may have in store for us. Its spirit will grow…So long as love and memory and record and monument keep the thought of our dead near to our lives and hearts, so long as…the spirit of brotherhood enables us to prize what we owe to shoe who have lived and died for us, the cult of the dead will be an unfailing source to us of new and genuinely religious life.

    –Josiah Royce

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